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Old 03-09-2017, 07:38 PM
Thomasino Thomasino is offline
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Default Single stage press?

I have an RCBS Rock chucker single stage press and I was wondering what other people had for casual loading. I don't shoot a lot of rounds besides that of 22 long rifle just maybe 100 rounds of Centerfire ammo per week. I am wondering if it is worth getting a turret or Progressive press? Also, can my single stage be converted to a turret?
The below link is the single stage press I have:
Rock Chucker Supreme precision engineered reloading Press - RCBS
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Old 03-09-2017, 07:58 PM
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Back in the 90`s I bought the PiggyBack II Conversion that attaches to the Rock Chucker.
Its a 5 station progressive set up that makes progressive reloading possible. I use it for handgun cartridge reloading and is still in use.
Not for rifle reloading though. It detaches easily making my Rock Chucker a single stage unit for rifle loading.
I dont know if it is still offered by RCBS but I like my set up.
Jim

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Old 03-09-2017, 08:05 PM
mtgianni mtgianni is offline
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I still use my rockchucker often though I use a Lee turret for most pistol rounds. For me the killer with progressives is the tooling. I reload over 20 calibers and from what I have seen set up, plates and adjustment times are a lot longer than replacing lee's turrets. I own one for most calibers @ around $8 each.
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Old 03-09-2017, 08:16 PM
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Casual loading?
I have three Dillon 1050s, one Forster Co-Ax, and one Lee Reloading Press.
I prefer the Co-Ax for bottleneck cartridges.
I was very happy after about a year with a RockChucker to sell it and buy a Co-Ax—and that was just over 40 years ago.
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Old 03-09-2017, 08:21 PM
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I use a RockChucker Supreme for working up loads, loading rifle rounds, or re-sizing rifle cases. I use my Hornady AP for everything else.
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Old 03-09-2017, 08:32 PM
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Get a Dillon 1050. I can run off 100 rounds in a few minutes as I walk past the press. I used to have one in the garage and every time I went out to the car, I would load about 100 rounds, or until the primer tube was empty (then re-fill when I came home).
For 100 rounds a week, you only need a progressive if you have the money for one and the time to make those 100 rounds a week takes away from your family...
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Old 03-09-2017, 08:45 PM
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I always wanted a Rock Chucker but my RCBS Junior still works.
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Old 03-09-2017, 08:50 PM
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I have a Rock Chucker and that's all I use.
A Lee turret press with all the goodies still sets in a box for over 10 years now.
Never used it.
I do all kinds of rifle and pistol rounds, but I'm retired and have plenty of time to wast now...
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Old 03-09-2017, 09:01 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by STCM(SW) View Post
I have a Rock Chucker and that's all I use.
A Lee turret press with all the goodies still sets in a box for over 10 years now.
Never used it.
I do all kinds of rifle and pistol rounds, but I'm retired and have plenty of time to wast now...
Amen, same here, Each catridge is perfect as I can get it. I'm not
impressed with output. I pour bullets and load in winter for my
major stockings. When shooten season comes I can keep up
replacing what I shoot up. I've got a couple turret presses but
don't use them. Then again I'm not involved in any games that
require several hundred rds a week. Shooting bullseye doesn't
require hundreds of rds.
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Old 03-09-2017, 09:09 PM
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I'm still using the Bonanza single stage that I bought in '82. I did use a progressive when I was shooting 500-1000 rounds a month years ago but now that I average 200-300 rounds a month the single stage suffices. Using the batch method it only takes about 1 hour per 100 rounds.
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Old 03-09-2017, 09:16 PM
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I use a Lee Classic Turret with the indexer removed, basically a single stage with built in die holders. I batch load and easily do 200-600 round a week as I shoot.
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Old 03-09-2017, 09:22 PM
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Lee Classic Cast here.

I also load about 100-200 rounds a week.

I've thought about a progressive a time or three. I don't think I load enough to justify one when it comes right down to it.
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Old 03-09-2017, 09:48 PM
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I still have my cheap little RCBS partner press I started with back in the early 90's. So far I have loaded more ammo on it than I dare admit to my wife and it shows no signs of quitting on me, but single stage presses are tedious and I've been thinking hard about a turret press lately.
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Old 03-09-2017, 10:04 PM
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Lee classic turret is what I have been using for a while now. Previously used a lee single stage. Have hardly touched the single stage since.
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Old 03-09-2017, 10:34 PM
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First bench-mount press was a used RCBS Jr model. Later added a RCBS RockChucker. Somehow ended up with a Lyman, very similar to the RCBS Jr. All three are single-stage presses. All three have had much use over the past 40-plus years.

For handgun ammo I use my "coffee can" method, sizing, decapping, neck-expanding, usually 500-1000 rounds at a time. Priming is done separately, at a leisurely pace that allows for best control. Then I charge, seat, and crimp at a controlled rate of about 150 per hour. Bottom line, for most handgun loads I average 1000 rounds per 5 or 6 hours, and do those hours a couple at a time over the course of several evenings.

Rifle ammo is usually done in batches of 100 rounds. Get them all sized, do all the decapping and priming, neck-expanding as needed, charging, seating, crimping, etc. Probably takes me an hour and a half to crank out a hundred rounds.

Never had a progressive, even when I was active in competition shooting. Somehow I just kept turning them out as fast as I was shooting them up.

For decades now, every time I add a new caliber I always order a set of dies and at least one bullet mold. Still casting bullets in over a dozen calibers, easily turning out 1000 or more in an afternoon session. Then lubing and sizing, seating gas checks as required, etc, over another afternoon. Got a little spoiled through the 90's with very reasonably priced hard cast bullets, but now shipping charges are adding up and making home casting more attractive again.

Retired now. Have access to a nice indoor range 24 hours per day, 7 days per week, just enter my door code and turn on the lights and fans. Shooting a couple of times every week. Sometimes just testing a new load for accuracy and function, sometimes burning up a couple of boxes in rapid fire combat exercises.

Short version, single-stage presses have always done everything I need and continue to do so. I can load any caliber I use for 3 to 6 months in advance, go to the range anytime I want to, and shoot as much as I wish. Yes, two or three single-stage presses are handy when loading in bulk, cutting down on set-up time, etc. But everything I have has paid for itself many times over and I'm not about to go out and spend all of my primer and powder money on a progressive outfit to save myself a bit of time here and there.

Back when .22LR shells were about $0.79 per box I figured about $1.50 for 9mm, .38 Spl, .45ACP, etc, with home-made bullets. Now I figure about $4.00 to $5.00 per box for the common handgun calibers, just as long as primers and powder are available at reasonable market prices (not hoarder-scalper prices). Given a choice between a new progressive outfit, 10,000 or 20,000 primers, or 15 lbs. of powder, I think I would go for the primers and powder every time. I have everything else that I need.
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Old 03-09-2017, 10:45 PM
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I am somewhat of a handloading equipment accumulator. Mounted on my bench are three RCBS single stage presses; a Rockchucker, a Reloader Special, a Partner (just for depriming), a Texan C press (my first press from 1976) and a Lyman T-Mag Turret press.
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Old 03-09-2017, 10:48 PM
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Still using the same Herters SS press I started out on 40 years ago. It's never let me down or needed repair.
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Old 03-09-2017, 10:50 PM
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I've been reloading since the mid 80's with a RCBS Rock Chucker single stage and I still use it as my only press. I have loaded thousands of rounds over the years and I still use it as my only press. In fact last week I loaded 300 rounds of 223 55 grain Nosler Ballistic tip ammo.
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Old 03-09-2017, 11:18 PM
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I use a Rockchucker pretty much for everything. I do have a JR that I use only for priming (I have the priming tube setup) and use the RC for everything else, one at a time. I have used progressives in the past of several makes and I find that I do better when I just take my time and go slow. Besides, it's fun to me so I don't mind the time. The only thing I don't really enjoy is cleaning primer pockets.
Right now I'm in the middle of about 350 .41 Mags. When I get done I have about 1000 38 specials to load (I cast also) and when I get done with that, I have about that many 44 specials/mag to load. Then I have a buttload of 380s to work on. I have plenty to keep me busy Every so often I get the urge to get a Dillon, but I've managed to do without so far. Maybe when I'm retired...
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Old 03-09-2017, 11:37 PM
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Single stage Lee classic... can't justify anything fancier... plus I'm afraid I'll make a mistake with something that has more than one moving part. :-)


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Old 03-09-2017, 11:40 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Goldstar225 View Post
I'm still using the Bonanza single stage that I bought in '82. I did use a progressive when I was shooting 500-1000 rounds a month years ago but now that I average 200-300 rounds a month the single stage suffices. Using the batch method it only takes about 1 hour per 100 rounds.
batch method?

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Old 03-09-2017, 11:43 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by peachhead View Post
I use a Rockchucker pretty much for everything. I do have a JR that I use only for priming (I have the priming tube setup) and use the RC for everything else, one at a time. I have used progressives in the past of several makes and I find that I do better when I just take my time and go slow. Besides, it's fun to me so I don't mind the time. The only thing I don't really enjoy is cleaning primer pockets.
Right now I'm in the middle of about 350 .41 Mags. When I get done I have about 1000 38 specials to load (I cast also) and when I get done with that, I have about that many 44 specials/mag to load. Then I have a buttload of 380s to work on. I have plenty to keep me busy Every so often I get the urge to get a Dillon, but I've managed to do without so far. Maybe when I'm retired...
At this point in time, I do just as well, whether it's the Dillon progressive, or Redding single stage. Every finished cartridge is inspected, and barrel or gauge tested. They always fire without fail. I usually prefer the Dillon for 45's, 9mm, and 223's. But I'll also run those same calibers on the single, just for special test ammo, or plain relaxation. There are numerous other caliber sizes I just put together on the single. I like having the option.
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Old 03-10-2017, 12:15 AM
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Default My Rockchucer...

...serves me well. My only press. I've thought about adding to the arsenal but for the volume you are talking about, no problem.
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Old 03-10-2017, 02:17 AM
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My Lee Classic Turret does everything I need it to do: 9mm, .38 SPL, .40 S&W, .45 ACP, .300 BLK.
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Old 03-10-2017, 06:34 AM
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It's all I use and all I ever intend to use. I'm not interested in cranking out large amounts in minutes. I batch load. Have a bin full of primed and ready to load cases and load 50 at a time whenever I feel like it. I weight every charge too.

I'm not gonna rely on a machine to make sure the powder drop is correct.
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Old 03-10-2017, 06:57 AM
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Have an old Lyman All American turret press, used it since the early 70's 95% of what I load are straight wall pistol rounds, has worked well for years. Cranks out about 100 rounds an hour, to me reloading isn't a race to anywhere.
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Old 03-10-2017, 07:09 AM
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While I have an old Dillon RL-450 progressive I use for pistol cartridges I shoot a lot of, I still use my old Pacific 007 single stage press for bottleneck cartridge loading and lower volume pistol cartridges. I've thought of upgrading to a turret press, but the one I want costs too much for me to justify it.
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Old 03-10-2017, 08:07 AM
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Default RCBS and Dillon

I use my Rockchucker for rifle ammo, including .44 Magnum. I shoot too few of the .44s to warrant setting up the caliber on my Dillon 550B.

However, When using the Rockchucker, I prefer the Lee Auto-prime for priming which attaches to the die holder atop the Rockchucker. Seating primers with a stock Rockchucker is perhaps its only design flaw.
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Old 03-10-2017, 08:26 AM
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Thomasino
You are getting "sucked in" to this hobby
Looking for Bigger, better tools!

A 100 rounds a week ......that'll be a little hard to justify something more than a single stage

It sounds like you need to buy a few more guns first... then you'll have the need for more bigger, better, faster tools
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Old 03-10-2017, 09:05 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by federali View Post
I use my Rockchucker for rifle ammo, including .44 Magnum. I shoot too few of the .44s to warrant setting up the caliber on my Dillon 550B.

However, When using the Rockchucker, I prefer the Lee Auto-prime for priming which attaches to the die holder atop the Rockchucker. Seating primers with a stock Rockchucker is perhaps its only design flaw.
Never looked back since I got the RCBS bench top priming tool. Can't believe it took me this long to change from press priming
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Old 03-10-2017, 09:23 AM
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I have an old Pacific single stage that I picked up used in the early 80's. Still works great. Several years ago I decided to venture into the progressive and got the LNL set up. It works very well.

I would size and deprime in big lots, usually around a plastic coffee can full, then prime while sitting on the floor. These would be set back and ready to charge and add bullets later. Each can has a card that stays with that batch so I know dates and what primers I used.

Several years later when I set up the new LNL I still have cans of 9mm that are sized and primed, ready to load. I can't bring myself to run them through the progressive press.

Once you develop your system you will be amazed at how much ammo you can load on a single stage and with hand priming. I don't load that many calibers and don't shoot competition but I like to have plenty of 9mm, 38/357, 40, and 45 ready along with 223 and 30-06 rifle.

If I had it to do all over again, I don't really know if I would get a progressive. I like the thing and it does pump out the ammo but there is something about a single stage that just feels right when I have some extra time. That to me is the big difference, time.
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Old 03-10-2017, 09:33 AM
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Single stage RCBS. Been using it since 1970.

Best Regards, Les
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Old 03-10-2017, 09:51 AM
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Quote:

I'm not gonna rely on a machine to make sure the powder drop is correct.
Most users of progressives, don't totally rely on the machine either. I look visually, as well as using the powder alarm on the Dillon 650. During the process of reloads, I'll also periodically check the powder measure against my electronic & balance scales.

With mass produced loads, I'm not going for exact matched cartridges, where bullet weight & powder weight need to be exactly the same. Just as with factory made ammo, I expect chrono results to vary somewhat.
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Old 03-10-2017, 11:44 AM
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This has been an excellent thread for me. Over the past couple months I have carefully been selecting and buying pieces of equipment online and from private sellers toward reloading 40S&W, 10mm, 357/38, 270Win and 30.06. I think I like hand priming and I see no problem decapping and sizing on a simple little Lee "C" bench press. I have an old Lyman 55 powder measure in great shape that I am getting comfortable with. I even bought an old Forster case trimming setup sitting quietly waiting for rifle cases.

Now this thread, and many others, has reinforced my idea that a turret press is my next step. I like the "repeatability" of having a separate turret with the dies set up and calibrated for a favorite load in each caliber, knowing they can be tweaked slightly for each firearm if need be.

I don't expect that my family will shoot much more than 2,000 rounds each year, and judging by how quickly I'm getting through my first 500 reloads with very little expense, I'm gonna go the turret way.

I thank you all for your willingness to share. Very much.

BZimm
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Old 03-10-2017, 12:34 PM
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I think the key to answering the OP's question depends on how the OP views his time spent at the press. If the time spent is viewed "as a necessity" (meaning it's the best way to accomplish getting the ammo he wants, but he'd rather be doing something else) then maybe a progressive or something faster is the way to go. On the other hand, if time at the press is viewed as yet another enjoyable way to be in the hobby, then why reduce that fun hobby time? :-D

I use only a Rock Chucker. I love the simplicity and the methodical deliberate control I have over the entire process. I also have the time, and enjoy the time, I spend sitting at the bench. I would consider (it happens to be me and where I am in life) something that reduces my time at the bench a net negative.

OR
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Old 03-10-2017, 02:00 PM
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An old Pacific Super Deluxe "C" and two Lee Hand Presses.
I can load everything I need with these .
I also have a old Lyman All-American Turret , rescued from a yard sale, set up for 357 magnum only. And I have an old Eagle Cobra 300 , single station , just for back up .
Gary
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Old 03-10-2017, 02:20 PM
Wee Hooker Wee Hooker is offline
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You could add a Piggyback attachment to your rock chucker to get you to turret production levels. They seem to have a decent reputation. Still, a new conversion is going to cost you twice what you can get into a Lee Classic Turret Set Up for.
Personally, I'd just get the LCT and keep the Rock Chucker for rifle rounds.
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Old 03-10-2017, 02:31 PM
dave1918a2 dave1918a2 is offline
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I have a Rock Chucker and an old #2 RCBS that I use for the Weatherby Magnums. I have 2 Dillon 450's for handgun and a Mec Hustler for 12 gauge trap loads.
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Old 03-10-2017, 02:41 PM
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For single stage I have two Redding T7 turret presses.


(c) Redding

It is very convenient to keep the most used dies in the press ready for use, no readjustments needed. Online forums seem to say the Redding turret is the strongest of them. I am sure happy with mine!
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Old 03-10-2017, 02:43 PM
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I think many reloaders just don't want the added expense of using a progressive. If you load more, you shoot more. I loaded for 12 ga for many years with a progressive MEC so I sort of understand the dynamics. Powder came in 8-12 cans, shot in 25 lb bags and it got used up fast. I had a lot of powder and shot on my bench and on the floor. Lots of operations to keep track of there. I like the simplicity of single stage. I've reached the limit on output with it so just regulate my shooting around that. I look at it as sort of a regulator. You can't shoot more than you load. Saves money twice.
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Old 03-10-2017, 04:36 PM
Thomasino Thomasino is offline
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Thank you, I appreciate all the well thought out replies. The more I think about it the more I don't think I need a progressive press, but am considering a turret style press. Just not sure which avenue to go down to get one if I decide on wanting one. I only shoot about 100 rounds of Centerfire a week and a single stage will surely accommodate that amount, but I think it would be a bit easier just rotating the turret. Is it worth that money? And I'm not sure which turret I would go with, seeing that I already have an RCBS single stage press.

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Old 03-10-2017, 07:04 PM
sasu sasu is offline
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A turret press helps only with die set up - you do it once and then they stay in place ready to be used at any moment.

Otherwise a turret press is like a single stage, you pull the handle once for each operation: resize, expand, seat, crimp and of course you add powder.

A progressive press does all those operations with one pull of the handle, that is where it's speed comes from.

To recap: a turret press saves time only in die set up, it does not make the actual reloading process any faster.
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Old 03-10-2017, 08:28 PM
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One time-saver that's available with a single-stage is the Lock n Load system from Hornady. Many of the newer presses are threaded for the larger 50-cal. type dies, and use a bushing system to reduce to the standard 7/8/14 dies. Hornady offers a bushing that receives the smaller dies with a twist-lock system with a twist-lock attachment attached to each die, so it only needs to be adjusted once within its bushing. The system can be used with modern single-stage presses from Hornady, RCBS, Redding, Lyman and others. You can change dies or calibers in a couple of seconds.
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Old 03-11-2017, 09:24 AM
Wee Hooker Wee Hooker is offline
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Originally Posted by Thomasino View Post
Thank you, I appreciate all the well thought out replies. The more I think about it the more I don't think I need a progressive press, but am considering a turret style press. Just not sure which avenue to go down to get one if I decide on wanting one. I only shoot about 100 rounds of Centerfire a week and a single stage will surely accommodate that amount, but I think it would be a bit easier just rotating the turret. Is it worth that money? And I'm not sure which turret I would go with, seeing that I already have an RCBS single stage press.

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Turret presses vary in price and complexity. Personally, I'm in the Lee Classic Turret Camp. I own, run and love two of them. Easily the best bang for the buck out there in a Turret. You can get one for under $120 for the bare press, under $225 for one ready to rock with powder, primer feed and dies. The LTC is simple to use and it will give you your 100 rounds in about 35-40 min or so once it's set up. (Lots written here and all over the net on the LCT BTW>)
p.s. My guess is that you will find yourself reloading and shooting more once you get one though. Most of us do.
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Old 03-11-2017, 09:32 AM
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Originally Posted by sasu View Post
A turret press helps only with die set up - you do it once and then they stay in place ready to be used at any moment.

Otherwise a turret press is like a single stage, you pull the handle once for each operation: resize, expand, seat, crimp and of course you add powder.

A progressive press does all those operations with one pull of the handle, that is where it's speed comes from.

To recap: a turret press saves time only in die set up, it does not make the actual reloading process any faster.
I would respectfully disagree with you, that a turret press doesn't save you time. I have the Lee Classic Turret with auto-index, Safety Prime system and Auto-Disk powder measure installed for each handgun caliber I shoot. I don't load for speed, but for the simplicity that I have a loaded round after 4 strokes of the handle. I can, at any time, take the cartridge out for inspection after any operation. Even checking powder weight and COL every 10th round, I can load 100 rounds in 30-45 minutes. If you wanted to, you could easily load 200-250 rounds an hour; I just don't NEED to and prefer consistency over speed.

Change over to a different caliber is only a few minutes, and your ready to load again. I still have my 1978 RCBS Reloader Special that is my dedicated decapping station for all calibers. I also just purchased a new Lee Classic Cast single stage for the 2 rifle calibers I shoot (223 & 308). I chose the Lee over the Rock Chucker Supreme because of 1) larger opening and 2) spent primer collection through the ram, into a collection tube. Saving $70 was a bonus, but not the deciding factor (though it didn't hurt)!

At 100 rounds/week and you already have a Rock Chucker; the choice would be up to you. IMO, for handgun rounds, the turret would be a better choice. The RC could be your dedicated rifle press. Best of luck, let us know how it works out
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Old 03-11-2017, 09:41 AM
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OK, I can see that. I have never thought of using a turret press to make one cartridge at a time, rotating from station to station. I use my turret presses as single stations: sizing a batch of cases, then priming the batch, expanding the batch etc. I like the control I get when I repeat the same action over and over again.
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Old 03-11-2017, 10:09 AM
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I recommend all reloaders start out with a LeeLoader. Just because I had to. A LeeLoader, powder, boolits, primers and hammer is all you need.
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Old 03-11-2017, 10:23 AM
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OK, I can see that. I have never thought of using a turret press to make one cartridge at a time, rotating from station to station. I use my turret presses as single stations: sizing a batch of cases, then priming the batch, expanding the batch etc. I like the control I get when I repeat the same action over and over again.
This is the way I do it also. It just seems natural to do it this way. Turning the head around and around to load one round seemed to be so much more time consuming than doing 50 - 100 -200 at a time , then turning to the next station. For me , it's faster to load batches of 100 -200 ,single station style than doing the load one completed round method . Truth be known , unless you leave the dies in place and adjusted , and load the exact same bullet , you are just as well off with a good single station. "C" and "O" presses are so much stronger ( less flex ) , to boot.
Gary

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Old 03-11-2017, 10:36 AM
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RCBS Rockcrusher...only press I have and use. Started out with a Lyman C-press in late 1960's. Switched over to a Rockcrusher at some point in time.

Single stage RCBS works for me.
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Old 03-11-2017, 02:23 PM
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Talking Great thread and comments!

The Hornady L-n-L conversion bushing is, IMHO, an absolute must for single stage presses like my LEE Classic Cast Iron press: once adjusted, dies are good to go, easy to make small adjustments for seating depth and crimp. Perfect for rifle rounds, especially bottle-neck cartridges. Even the LEE locking rings stay in place... Well, most of the time?

Absolutely love the RCBS Universal Hand Primer: easiest way to seat primers properly whilst watching the tube, just remember to always wear your safety glasses, just in case...

LEE's Classic Turret won't accept the L-n-L system, but that's the point: you buy another turret, adjust the dies once and away you go. Batch loading (i.e., say 50 at a time per loading "action" & removing the indexing rod) really can up your production with no real decrease in precision. No doubt (in my mind) a Dillon or a total Hornady L-n-L Progressive system properly set-up, adjusted and maintained can deliver many more finished product much faster, but at what co$t? How many actually shoot 500-1000 rounds per week and really need the production?

If you are one of those "lucky ones", God Bless and Keep Safe!

Cheers!

p.s. Easy for me to say because I'm retired and actually think the reloading bench is the perfect place to be O/C and proud of it!

p.p.s. Found an old RCBS Jr. at a garage sale for $10 to handle all the decapping chores: SAVE THE DIES! With the LEE quick change mount it's only a minute's work to go from decapping to single stage or turret press. Hint: replace those Phillip's head screws with hex head bolts for a tighter mounting.

Last edited by STORMINORMAN; 03-11-2017 at 02:30 PM. Reason: To add a 2nd "p.p.s."
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